Why, as a Kinkster, I Married Vanilla

When masochistic submissive and straight-and-narrow vanilla collide

By Tess Dagger • 5 min read • ENGLISH


I like to quote the comedian Erin Judge on the day I met my future husband:

“When I met my life partner, it was like Magic…the Gathering.”

Erin Judge

It’s true. We met at a nerdy card game event and giggled our way through the whole thing. Later on, our mutual friend informed me that he had asked after me.

— So…your friend Tess…

She’d laughed, patted his shoulder, and answered:

My dear, you’re not ready for Tess.

Fast forward—seven years, six countries, multiple biking trips, fitness plans, nerdy nights, a mutual girlfriend, and a dog later—we’re married, live in Berlin, and still feel as if we’re at the beginning of our grand adventure.

The question of our bedroom balance tends to come up at play parties and with close friends who know my habits. We hear it often with a tilt of the head and the not-so-hidden curiosity as people compare us side by side.

— Wait, so you’re kinky, and he’s vanilla? How does that work?


Being a kinkster doesn’t mean I can’t do vanilla

Ask my play partners if I like to fuck, and you’ll probably get an answer like, is water wet?.

Ask them again how often I fuck during a scene, and you’ll likely hear something closer to rarely.

BDSM excites every part of my brain and body to varying degrees. Often when I play, I’m not seeking strictly sexual stimulation. I have a tendency to focus on the feeling of the scene, and the raw sexuality of it does not mean it must end in sex. Often, I don’t want it to, even when I’m rather riled up.

Guess who gets all that pent up sexual energy?

Lucky boy.

There’s also something beautifully uncomplex about vanilla sex that gives my mind a break from the self-exploration of constant kink. Sometimes I just want to enjoy the simplicity of a good blowjob or have lazy Sunday morning sex.

Sexuality is a spectrum, and I enjoy exploring all aspects of it. Even the more mundane ones.


I seek my aftercare at home

When I first started playing, I placed great emphasis on the aftercare I received from my play partner. Aftercare is incredibly important; it’s a mental rebalance, bridging between the exploration of our darker selves back into our normal mental state. It soothes any potential burrs and prickles that may be left after a challenging session and deepens the connection between the players.

I’ve since relinquished a lot of my need for aftercare, not because I don’t want to connect with my partners, but because I’ve learned which scenes will push me to the point of needing that bridging and soothing, and which ones I can walk away from with little readjustment. In the event that a top seeks to give aftercare as part of their process, I’m happy to receive it.

I discovered not long after my husband and I began dating that the most soothing thing of all was coming home to him. The gap between my play and daily life can be filled by an understanding partner who, as part of my daily life, accepts all that I do outside of his realm of normal.

In this, I’m always receiving aftercare after every scene. It’s him, and it’s wonderful.


My husband is not the man I married

More importantly, I wouldn’t want him to be.

The man I married was naive but open-minded, and the fresh outlook paired with a willingness to experience something new was incredibly attractive. Now he has a greater depth of experience from which he chooses to draw his decision-making. He has accepted that he will always be in a constant state of growth.

More importantly, he reminds me that I’m also in a constant state of growth, and should strive to continue this.

He showed this to me when he asked me to move abroad with him. He continued to show me when he set firm boundaries for himself within the first few years of our ex-patriot adventure in order to keep himself stable for me. Recently, we went through the hard process of renegotiating our poly dynamic, and he showed me, yet again, that he’s willing to challenge himself and keep an open mind.

In regards to kink, he’s been willing to try and don that persona for me as well. When we confirmed that it didn’t suit him, he didn’t judge my tastes or take it personally. He simply accepted that there were things I would have to seek elsewhere, and understood that it was better for me to find that genuine engagement than to try and fake it for me.

When we empower our partners to seek their desires, we can become more desirable in our own right. And it takes a special kind of strength to accept that we may not be able to be everything for our partner in one neat and tidy package. All of this and more is why he is so utterly desirable to me, vanilla and all.

It’s not easy. All of this takes work. But if I wanted to stagnate with someone, I would have married somebody else. I want to grow with someone, and that’s why I married him.


So this is how it works. Step by step, day by day, and with effort.

I remember once hearing somebody tell me that true love should be effortless, and I remember feeling my eyes roll so hard into the back of my skull that I could nearly see my own snark fighting to get out of my head.

Love, at least to me, is not the constant enjoyment of an effortless relationship but the willingness to put in the work when it ceases to be effortless. Loving someone is a journey, a process, and an adventure, and I can’t wait to see where ours takes us.


Sincerely,

Tess Dagger | Writer for SPNKD

BDSM enthusiast and former sex worker
@tessdagger
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